The second edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games officially began with an innovative yet nostalgic Opening Ceremony in sub-zero freezing temperatures which was not afraid to stray from the traditional here tonight.
Less than a decade ago, the Youth Olympic Games did not even exist, but some 1,100 sporting youngsters will descend on the Norwegian town of Lillehammer for the second edition of the Winter event, due to take place from February 12 to 21.
YOGGL, Innsbruck 2012’s mascot, was presented to the public today at the opening of the Youth Olympic Games Snow Festival in the centre of Innsbruck.
YOGGL is an Alpine chamois who lives at moderately high altitudes in the steep, rugged and rocky Karwendel Mountains between Innsbruck and Seefeld. His name "YOGGL" (pronounced just like in YOG) is based on the rustic nickname "Joggl" for Jakob, which is a traditional and very common Tyrolean name, adjusted with a "Y" at the beginning. The name contains the abbreviation “YOG”, making the mascot part of the Youth Olympic Games. He symbolises life in Alpine regions and will raise awareness of respect for nature and our natural resources, like all the "Mountain Joggls" do.
Concerts were also held at the Snow Festival today, marking the 35th anniversary of the Innsbruck 1976 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony. This coming weekend will be all about sport, showcasing the 15 winter sport disciplines on the Innsbruck 2012 sports programme in the city centre. Visitors will have the opportunity to try out a bobsleigh simulator and a snow ramp built especially for the Festival. On the ice rink at Sparkassenplatz, they will be able to test their skills at ice hockey, figure skating and curling. A DJ will also there to create the right atmosphere!
Futsal, a form of five-a-side football, is to replace the standard 11-a-side format at the next Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018.
The decision to make the switch was taken by FIFA, the world governing body, at a two-day meeting of its ruling Executive Committee in Zurich last week.
T&T's Olympic boxer Nigel Paul is among four fighters of the elite boxing team to have qualified for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in July-August.
August 22 - The Chinese city of Nanjing have staged a celebration to mark the three years to go milestone to the second Summer Youth Olympic Games which will take place in 2014.
The Youth Olympics is a competition for 14 to 18-years-old and Nanjing were awarded the right to stage the 2014 event on February 10, 2010 at the 122nd International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Vancouver, Canada.
Nanjing held off strong competition from Poznań in Poland as the IOC awarded them the event by 47 votes to 42 votes and they will stage the event from August 16 to 28.
The main stadium for Nanjing 2014 will be the imposing Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre, which has a capacity of 60,000.
Nanjing will host the second Summer Youth Olympic Games after Singapore successfully staged the inaugural event last August.
Innsbruck will host the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic in January next year, while Lillehammer in Norway are set to host the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics after they were the only candidate to put themselves forward.
The IOC are set to confirm Lillehammer as the hosts in October this year.
By Tom Degun